Fam­ily reel­ing af­ter iden­ti­fy­ing vic­tims

Noth­ing could have pre­pared him for hor­rific task, says nephew

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SAKHILE ND­LAZI AND TANKISO MAKHETHA

THE fam­ily of the three North­cliff peo­ple who were found mur­dered and burnt in Cen­tu­rion have been left reel­ing af­ter iden­ti­fy­ing their bod­ies.

The de­ceased have been iden­ti­fied as Gregory Naidoo, 57, Me­lanie Naidoo, 51, and 22-year-old Rakiel Naidoo.

“Our worst night­mare has be­come real.

“Al­though the fam­ily wanted clo­sure, we were pray­ing that the burnt bod­ies didn’t be­long to our fam­ily,” said Fuad Pa­tel, a nephew of the de­ceased.

Ini­tially, the fam­ily mem­bers were meant to iden­tify the bod­ies yes­ter­day, af­ter the vic­tims were found burnt be­yond recog­ni­tion near the Cop­per­leaf Golf Es­tate early on Mon­day.

But af­ter see­ing the charred re­mains at the crime scene and with the num­ber cor­re­spond­ing with their miss­ing rel­a­tives, the rel­a­tives de­cided to do it on Mon­day night in­stead.

“The fam­ily couldn’t wait any longer so we went to the mor­tu­ary at 11pm on Mon­day,” Pa­tel ex­plained.

But noth­ing could have pre­pared him for what he had to wit­ness, he said.

He de­scribed it as a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence that no fam­ily should ever go through.

“I wouldn’t even wish this on my worst en­emy,” he said.

The hor­rific find was made by se­cu­rity per­son­nel, who had gone into the veld to in­ves­ti­gate a grass fire.

But on closer in­spec­tion they no­ticed the charred re­mains of three peo­ple and called paramedics and the po­lice.

Paramedics cer­ti­fied the vic­tims dead at the scene.

Po­lice ar­rived and sum­moned foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors, who combed the area for clues.

Only a pair of legs were left of the charred re­mains, the po­lice said.

The three fam­ily mem­bers were kid­napped on Sun­day night, ac­cord­ing to Pa­tel.

He said his un­cle’s up­per-body was still in­tact and that was how the fam­ily could iden­tify him, and there­fore the other two.

Pa­tel de­scribed his un­cle as a lov­ing and brave man.

“He had an in­fec­tious smile that couldn’t help but spread, espe­cially when he was try­ing to win an ar­gu­ment with you.

“He was self­less, will­ing to give his all to help those he loved,” said Pa­tel.

He said both fe­males – his un­cle’s wife and niece – were burnt be­yond recog­ni­tion and only the legs re­mained on one of the bod­ies.

But po­lice spokesper­son Lieu­tenant-Colonel Kay Makhubele said they were un­aware that the vic­tims had been iden­ti­fied.

“All iden­ti­fi­ca­tion is done through the po­lice and we waited at the mor­tu­ary (yes­ter­day) for the fam­ily, but they didn’t ar­rive,” he said.

Po­lice still had to carry out the DNA tests in or­der to carry out pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the re­mains, Makhubele pointed out.

He said as far as he was con­cerned, the mat­ter was still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion and that the bod­ies had not been iden­ti­fied of­fi­cially.

“We are not quite clear how long the tests will take.”

He ap­pealed to any­one with in­for­ma­tion to help the po­lice so that they could trace and ar­rest the sus­pects.

Gregory Naidoo

Me­lanie Naidoo

Rakiel Naidoo

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